Doctors to look inside patients by using 3-D computer images

A THREE-DIMENSIONAL image of the patient's body on an operating theatre television screen will soon become as common as X-rays on a light box, a leading plastic surgeon said yesterday, writes Celia Hall.

Gus McGrouther, professor of reconstructive surgery at University College Hospital in central London, said that the new technology would allow surgeons to look inside the patient, to plan their operations and practise on the computer model.

At the launch yesterday of a research project to perfect 3-D imaging for surgeons, supported by British Telecom, Professor McGrouther said static 3-D images of parts of the human body were to be combined with two-dimensional moving pictures to build up a moving picture which could be manipulated to show internal structures.

Professor McGrouther said: 'What we are developing is a series of 3-D moving images which will aid the surgeon and can even be shifted down telephone lines. There is no real reason why there should not be a scanner in every casualty department so that the doctor on duty could call his chief at night and display the patient's anatomy to him on his own TV screen.'

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